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‘I will help’: Trump pledges to pay for Vanessa Guillen’s funeral

Trump meets with Guillen family
AP via CNN
President Donald Trump speaks as he meets with the family of slain Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen in the Oval Office of the White House.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- During a meeting between Vanessa Guillen's family members and President Donald Trump at the White House on Thursday, the president told them that they have his support and that he will personally help with funeral expenses.

"If you need help with the funeral financially, I will help," the president told the family in the Oval Office.

The offer came after Guillen's mother pleaded with Trump for justice for her slain daughter, who was killed at Fort Hood earlier this year.

A tearful Gloria Guillen, speaking through an interpreter in the Oval Office, asked the President to help their family investigate Guillen's death. She was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the armory room on the Texas base where she worked and her family says she was going to file a sexual harassment report against her alleged killer, a fellow soldier at Fort Hood.

"She wants to know who's really responsible," an interpreter for Gloria Guillen told the President on Thursday. "Her daughter died. Her daughter died in service of her country at the hand of people who are in the military."

The President said he "saw this one on of the shows recently" and that it "hit me very hard." He called Vanessa Guillen a "spectacular person, respected and loved by everybody, including in the military."

"As you know, the FBI and the DOJ are now involved. We got them involved. And people at Fort Hood, where it took place, are very much involved. We didn't want to have this swept under the rug, which could happen," Trump told Vanessa Guillen's mother, father and two sisters.

Family attorney Natalie Khawam detailed the brutal aspects of the crime for the President.

"He supposedly took a hammer and killed her and, in the room, bludgeoned her to death," Khawam said. "How no one heard her screaming, how no one saw the blood, those are ... questions we still have."

"He used a machete to cut her up with his girlfriend, and he tried to burn her body. It wouldn't burn," she continued. "It reminded me of ISIS, what they do to our soldiers."

Spc. Aaron David Robinson, a 20-year-old soldier suspected in Guillen's disappearance, killed himself after police confronted him in Killeen, Texas, earlier this month. The U.S. Army on Thursday released the names of five civilians, one of whom is a former Marine, who will review the "command climate and culture at Fort Hood," Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a statement.

The review is intended to determine whether that climate and culture "reflects the Army's values, including safety, respect, inclusiveness, and a commitment to diversity, and workplaces and communities free from sexual harassment."

Vanessa Guillen's family said they believe there was a cover-up in the aftermath of her death, saying there was "no transparency" between the Army and their family.

"I respect our military -- not all our people are bad -- but the way they treated Vanessa, they treated us," one of Guillen's sisters told the President. "No transparency, no respect."

"They did not respect our feelings, they did not respect the feelings of my mother and they did not respect my sister," she said.

Vanessa Guillen was afraid to report sexual harassment from Robinson and others because they were within her chain of command, family attorney Khawam explained.

"It's hard to go to the boss that's giving you problems to report him," Khawam told the President. "It's like the fox over the henhouse."

The family pushed the President not only for justice for Vanessa Guillen but also for an overall change to military culture and to how sexual harassment can be reported.

The family was in Washington to press for support for the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, which would allow active-duty service members to file sexual harassment claims through an independent party. After the family talked to him to encourage him to support the bill, Trump responded, "You have our support, and we're working on it already, as you know, and we won't stop, and hopefully something very positive will come out in honor of your sister."

But later when they spoke about the bill, Trump said, "So we'll look into that too. We're going to look into that."

Vanessa Guillen had been willing to die for her country, her sister said, and yet "she died on base. How can this happen on a military base, where you think everything is safe, but yet the soldiers are not safe? So we need a congressional investigation because it's impossible that no one saw, no one heard anything."

Trump remained mostly stoic throughout the meeting. The President demurred when reporters asked if the case reflected the need for change in military culture or at Fort Hood in particular, instead asking the family what they thought.

At one point, he commented that officials at Fort Hood "didn't let him (Robinson) get away with it, is what I'm saying, and they probably wouldn't have" had Robinson not killed himself.

Khawam pushed back, claiming the soldier had not been arrested despite cell phone records placing him at the scene where Vanessa Guillen's body was discovered. She said base officials "turned a blind eye" to the evidence.

When Trump heard the family had not received Vanessa Guillen's remains because the investigation was still open and therefore had not been able to hold a funeral, that's when he offered to help.

"When would you like to have the funeral?" Trump asked. The family said they wanted it as soon as possible, to which Trump responded, "As soon as possible, I agree."

"We'll make sure that happens," he said. He then offered to help cover the financial costs of the event, telling the family, "If I can help you out with the funeral I'll help you out. I'll help you out financially."

"I don't even know if you need help," Trump added, "I just think it's a horrific thing that happened."

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Comments

28 Comments

        1. POOR ALBERTO BUDDY OF FERO2A AND MADMIKE. ITS OK GUY HES REAL………MADMIKE AND FERO2A PROBABLY PTSD MORONS. HE IS REAL BOYS.. YES, HE IS… ITS OK….TELL US HOW YOU FEEL.. LOL

  1. Anyway.. where is is his immigrant wife and little useless offspring Barron? Maybe he should focus on them instead. ivanka is nothing but a sex bia$%tch. His other two moron sons are useless pricks. His son i law is….. well…… lol……puppet.

    1. His immigrant family is enjoying their luxurios life style. Not like your section 8 housing paid by his taxes. You can’t even get close to have sex with a maggot. That’s why you play with comrade turner.

  2. President Trump is a great man. Not only has he done more for America, he’s personally done more for individual Americans than nay other President.

    1. He has done a lot for the super rich and the big corporations, however, for everyday Americans that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sorry MAGA whatever you are drinking is not helping you in the slightest.

  3. I’m so glad some demoKKKrats decided not to respond by responding. This I believe is called oxymoron. But in this fools case he is a double moron. But who is responding anyway.

  4. It’s funny how trump volunteers to do easy tasks like pay for a funeral but when it comes to more complicated issues like the economy, a pandemic or even having diplomatic relations with world leaders (except for dictators), he just can’t cut it. Everything he does is all for show but there is no substance there although this is something everyone can see unless you fero2a, nadodave, maga and madmike. Instead they throw insults and think they are making valid points—NOT.

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